On the Meaning of Experience: Towards a Semiotic-Semantic Path of the Sensible

By "considering perception as the non-linguistic place where the apprehension of signification is situated" (Greimas, 1986 [1966]: 8), Greimas recognizes the omnipresent and multiform character of signification. At the crossroads of sensible meaning and intelligible meaning, apprehension presents a double semiotic status: by articulating phusis and logos (Coquet, 2007), it indeed offers the possibility "to bridge the foggy zone of the world of senses and 'sense effects', reconciling [...] quantity and quality, man and nature" (Greimas, Op. Cit.: 9). It is in this articulation that the sensible can be said, understood and conceptualized.

As Jean-François Bordron points out in the introduction to his article on the semiotic status of the natural world (2007), we experience questions of being and meaning as inseparable; in other words, as soon as we are invested in the perceptive scene, we are immediately and simultaneously engaged in the semantic dimension, as if all perception contained within itself its semantic potential, so that it is ready to be said. It is precisely because there are tenuous and subtle links between semantics and semiotics that their articulation remains obscure (their respective organization being very difficult to detect).

This paper will therefore propose to return to the two levels of relevance already identified and studied in Greimas' Sémantique structurale

Audrey Moutat

CeReS, Université de Limoges

lecturer in Language Sciences and Information and Communication Sciences at the University of Limoges. She is a researcher at the Centre de Recherches Sémiotiques (CeReS), where she carries out her work on the semiotics of perception, to which she has devoted two books, Du sensible à l'intelligible. Pour une sémiotique de la perception (Lambert-Lucas, 2015) and Son et sens (Presses Universitaires de Liège, Sigilla, 2019). Her research also extends to various devices of mediation and mediatization of the sensible as engaged with via texts, photography, design objects, sound or digital devices.

sensitive experience
perceptive semiosis
iconic structures
discursive semiosis